The Oppressed Lives of Stay-at-Home Moms

When Hilary Rosen said that Ann Romney had “actually never worked a day in her life,” she probably didn’t expect the reaction her comment would generate. Defenders of Ms. Rosen have tried to convince us that she misspoke or we misunderstood.

One might excuse Ms. Rosen if she were a neophyte to the political scene, but Hilary Rosen is a nationally recognized political strategist and an on-air contributor at CNN. She has visited the Obama White House over 30 times and met with the president five times. She knew what she was saying.

The problem is that in the circles in which she travels there is nothing controversial about Ms. Rosen remarks. She simply revealed what the modern radical feminists think about stay-at-home moms.

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Feminist icon, Simone de Beauvoir told Betty Friedan: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

Feminist Ellen Herman explained the roots of modern feminism: “… the family – especially, the western patriarchal, bourgeois, and child-centered, nuclear family – as the most important source of women’s oppression.”

Heidi Hartmann, director of the Washington-based Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), expressed a clear antipathy to marriage and motherhood when she wrote: “The crucial elements of patriarchy as we currently experience them are heterosexual marriage, female child rearing and house work, women’s economic dependence on men.”

Before she was raised to the high court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed herself on the issue of motherhood:  “Motherly love ain’t everything it has been cracked up to be. To some extent it’s a myth that men have created to make women think that they do this job to perfection.”

This anti-stay-at-home motherhood attitude can be traced all the way back to Frederick Engles, Karl Marx’s collaborator, who wrote: “… the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry.”

Rosen is just one in a long line of radical feminists who don’t value stay-at-home moms. Lest you think that this is just the ranting of radicals, consider how our tax system discriminates against stay-at-home moms. The Child Care tax credit of up to $6,000 for two children is available only to families who pay someone outside the family to care for their children while the parents work. Care by the child’s mother – even if the father were to pay her – doesn’t count. Every pre-school child needs 24 hour care, but a family can only claim the credit if the mother has earned income.

According to radical feminist thinking, the stay-at-home mom shouldn’t get a tax credit for child care because she isn’t working. Therefore, the child care she provides is free. But there is no free lunch and no free child care. A mother, who decides that the best child care is mother care, pays a price for that decision; the entire income she would receive if she worked outside the home, plus the value of the experience and seniority she would acquire by working outside the home, plus benefits.

Mothers of pre-school children face a hard choice; go work and put their babies in day care or stay home, provide that care themselves and have less income. The feminists insist that many women have to work, but women like Ann Romney don’t know about that. I think Mrs. Romney does know about women who have been forced into the workforce because there is no support for stay-at-home moms. She knows that there are a lot of women who make serious financial sacrifices in order to stay home with their babies. The smarter, the better educated the woman, the more income she could make, the more she sacrifices to stay home. However, most of the women I know who made that choice believe it was well worth it. What is even more heroic is the woman who sacrifices all luxuries – and maybe a few necessities – so that her child can have a full-time mommy.

There are probably many more mother who would like to choose to stay at home and for whom a $6,000 tax credit might be just enough to allow them to make that choice, particularly women in low wage jobs, for whom working is hardly worth the effort when you add up the cost of daycare (even with the credit), the cost of commuting, the FICA and other deductions, the fast food meals because there is no time to cook, the hassle of getting the kids to daycare and then getting to work and then picking them up on time, and the worry about what to do when they are sick.

Therefore, I suggest that in order to introduce real pro-woman fairness, the tax code should changed to grant the same tax credit for all young children regardless of who takes care of them.


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